Spartans Blast Past Iowa, 71-56

Michigan State made sure they didn't become upset victims two years in a row in Iowa City. The Spartans cruised past Iowa, 71-56, Thursday night at Carver. Read the game story here, stocked with quotes and information.

Lightning did not strike twice.

Last season, Iowa shocked Michigan State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, giving Todd Lickliter his first Big Ten coaching victory. The Hawkeyes held the visitors to their lowest offensive output under successful coach Tom Izzo, 36 points.

Thursday night, if ninth-ranked Michigan State wasn't out for revenge they could have fooled any in the season-high crowd of 13,640 at Carver. The Spartans never let the underdogs enjoy much life in a 71-56 route.

The Spartans (17-3 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) overwhelmed a young Iowa team with physical play and blinding speed in transition.

"I don't know where you all were sitting, but there was like a green blur going past me at a very high rate of speed," Lickliter said. "You can show them on tape, but I don't think you can really understand the speed they play at in the full court. And by the time we realized it, we were in trouble."

Jeff Peterson faired well against a strong Michigan State backcourt. The Hawkeye point guard finished with a team-high 14 points and handed out five assists. Teammate Matt Gatens add 13 for the home team.

Iowa lost for just the second time in 12 home games. The Spartans won for just second time in their last seven games at Carver.

"Watching Iowa on film, Todd has done a great job," Michigan State Coach Todd Lickliter said. "This team has been difficult to beat at home. The young guys are playing well. We put a lot into covering them."

Izzo was impressed with the crowd at Iowa.

"As I said at Michigan State, you don't build a program just with your team or with your players," he said. "You build it with your fans and your community. I've been here when the roof was coming off. That gets four or five more home wins."

Reserve post Jarryd Cole, who tore his ACL last season, proved to be one of the bright spots for the Hawkeyes (12-9, 2-6) on Thursday. The sophomore scored a season-high 10 points, making all five of his field goal attempts, and grabbed eight rebounds in a 2008-09-best 26 minutes.

"I just credit it all to my teammates," Cole said. "They did a good job of finding me, and I tried to be in a spot where I could make myself a force."

Starting center David Palmer, who had averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in Iowa's last three games, was hampered by early foul trouble and finished with just one point and no rebounds in 14 minutes.

Cyrus Tate didn't play fifth game in a row. The No. 1 center suffered a high ankle sprain on Jan. 8 against Minnesota. Lickliter said his captain is day-to-day, but Tate said on Tuesday and again after Thursday's game that it was unlikely he'd be back for Illinois this weekend.

Kalin Lucas paced Michigan State with 24 points (9-13 from the floor) and four assists. Durrell Summers added 21 for the winners.

After building a 13-point halftime lead, Michigan State came out of the intermission with a 12-3 run to gain control of the game. The visitors held a comfortable lead until the late stages of the game. The Hawkeyes went on a 3-point shooting spree that trimmed their deficit 61-52 with 5 minutes, 33 seconds on the clock.

"I thought there were times when we played pretty well," Lickliter said. "Our team showed some resiliency; something to build upon. "

Peterson, Gatens and Jermain Davis drained treys on three consecutive possessions, forcing the Spartans to call a timeout. It stemmed the Iowa momentum has the visitors scored the game's next five points for a 66-52 lead with 2 minutes to go to put it away. The home team went scoreless.

"I know they hit a couple of big shots," Gatens said. "It hurts. You cut it to nine and they come out and hit a big shot. Our guys came back. We fought hard. But it was just a little bit too much to come back from. We can't let (the deficit) get that high in the first place."

Michigan State jumped on Iowa early, running out to an 8-0 lead in the game's first four minutes. The Hawkeyes scored for the first time on a jumper by Kelly with 15:54 to play in the first half.

After the visitors built the lead up to 23-10 at the 7:27 mark, Iowa responded with an 11-6 spurt ignited by Cole's put-back dunk and lay-up on consecutive possessions. The Spartans bounced back with a 9-4 run of their own to take a 38-25 lead into the locker room.

Michigan State enjoyed a 23-9 rebounding advantage (9-3 on the offensive glass) during the first 20 minutes. Iowa conceded its offensive boards for most of the half, choosing to sprint back on defense after a shot went up.

Iowa played a large part of the first half without Palmer, who picked up his second foul with 8:10 remaining in the first half and didn‘t return until after halftime. Cole stepped in to play 13 minutes and contributed six points, two rebounds, a block and an assist.

While unhappy with Wednesday's outcome and a 2-6 league start, Lickliter sees his team's advancements.

"When you look at our Big Ten record, it looks bad," he said. "I'm disappointed. I don't think it's equal to (the Hawkeyes' play). I'm not completely satisfied, but our play has shown progress. I'm hoping we can build on it.

"I do think we struggle with understanding our teammates' strengths and we struggle with situations at times. It's a very simple rule. Shoot when you're open, pass when you're not. We struggle at times with that. We struggle to know how deep to go with the ball into the paint. We struggle to shoot when we're open. We struggle a little bit to know what's a good position and what's a good pass for a teammate.

"But we're getting better at it. This is a group that is very coachable. They want to do well. In my opinion, they'll continue to get better."

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